Posted at: 04/29/2013 5:08 PM
Updated at: 04/29/2013 5:46 PM
By: Laurie Stribling
A huge makeover is underway at UMD and by next fall, there will be a brand-new student lounge.
A majority of the first floor of the Kirby Student Center is being torn apart in an effort to benefit students. The student lounge will double in size from 3,500 square feet to 6,600.
"It's a chance for us to take a space that's used by thousands of students everyday and really make it something that works for them," Jeni Eltink, Director of the Kirby Student Center, said.
The lounge was last renovated in the 1980's and was left feeling closed off, but that's changing. The project will create higher ceilings, less office space and a hallway that will filter students through the lounge.
"It's an opportunity to blend that hallway and that lounge together," Eltink said. "So, instead of feeling separate, it's like you're literally walking through the living room of campus."
Eltink said the extra space will better allow for more student activity.
"I think this is essential for UMD," senior Sean Finn said.
Finn is one of many students who contributed ideas for the project. Organizers spent the last four years collecting input in order to make the space desirable for students.
"I think this is the very beginning of a beautiful student union that can potentially drive a student's decision to come to UMD," Finn said.
The $1.5 million renovation is set to be complete in time for students this fall.
There is a phase two of the project. That is in the planning stages and would potentially renovate the entire first floor.